Laura Holson’s N.Y. Times story about the value of Steven Spielberg these days (“So, What’s The Spielberg Magic Worth?”) as Universal prepares to buy his creative services via their purchase of DreamWorks can’t be easily answered. What’s the value of a guy whose name automatically spells “quality thrill ride” as far as the general public is concerned? Big value, I’d say. What’s the value of a guy who was at his creative peak from 1974 to 1982, and then briefly bounced back with Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List and then again with Saving Private Ryan and Minority Report? And who may re-surge again (for all I know it may happen with Munich), but who has basically been banging out this and that “commercial” film for years without any apparent interest in becoming Jean Renoir? What’s the value of a director who made Always? What’s the value of a director who struck terror into the hearts of thousands of media people when he threatened a few years ago to direct an adaptation of Memoirs of a Geisha? (Would Spielberg’s Geisha have been less ghastly than Rob Marshall’s version? Thankfully, blessedly, we’ll never know.) What is the value of a director who decided that Tom Cruise’s teenage son survived a suicide charge into a pitched battle with alien invaders in War of the Worlds, and in so doing caused who-knows- how-many-thousands of moviegeors to groan out loud in their seats? The public sees Steven Spielberg as some kind of golden goose, yes, and that means big money, but he’s been an erratic goose and an infrequent golden-egg layer for a long time, and his serious golden streak happened a long time ago.